At least 16 states have a Children's Cabinet, and all indications suggest that many others are likely to follow. Though many features vary from state to state, Children's Cabinets typically involve senior state officials, including cabinet executives from a range of state agencies (i.e., health, mental health, education, child care, income supports, child and family services, youth development, labor, and juvenile justice services.) Many Children's Cabinets also include representatives of key stakeholders from the private sector.

Governors are faced with myriad choices in designing their Cabinets, appointing members, and otherwise tasking their Cabinets with improving child and family outcomes in their states. This Guide is designed to serve as a road map for governors and their staffs interested in designing their own successful Governor's Children's Cabinets. The content, summarized below, is drawn from the experiences of existing Children's Cabinets, including case studies of two long-standing Cabinets in Louisiana and West Virginia (included in Appendix A).

Why Create a Children's Cabinet?

  • Develop and implement a shared vision across agencies for improving child and
    family outcomes.
  • Improve the state's economy and prospects for competition in the global marketplace by investing in the education and skills of children, the state's future workforce.
  • Foster public awareness of major children's issues.
  • Engage new partners in public efforts to serve children and their families.
  • Build a long-term commitment to children's issues in the state.